The 93rd edition of the Tour of Italy in 2010 will start in the Netherlands on May 8 before embarking on a 3,416.5km journey around the Italian peninsula and ending in Verona on May 30.
That was the course unveiled in Milan on Saturday with 21 stages and 39 climbs.
Reigning champion Denis Menchov, the Russian Rabobank rider, was among the guests at the official presentation alongside former winner Damiano Cunego and Italian stars of the past such as Mario Cipollini.
There was also a chance for Italy to get to know Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen, a Dutch actress and presenter who will be the face of the 2010 Giro and who also happens to be the girlfriend of new Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder.
The opening stage will be a short 8.4km time trial (TT) around Amsterdam which will also host the start of the next two stages, ending in Utrecht and then Middleburg before the riders take an early break with the first rest day and a flight to Italy before recommencing in Savigliano with a 32.5km team time trial.
There will be two more individual time trials with a 12.9km TT on the 16th stage following the second rest day while the final stage will be a 15.3km TT around Verona as the Giro ends for the second year in a row on a time trial – something that sparked much excitement this year.
It will be the ninth time the Giro has begun outside of Italy and second time it does so in the Netherlands. The first foreign start was in 1965 in San Marino.
The highest point of the Tour will be the Passo Gavia on the 20th and penultimate stage at 2,618m above sea level with some parts reaching a gruelling 15 percent gradient.
There will also be an emotional finish in L’Aquila, the capital of the Abruzzo region hit by a tragic earthquake in April, at the end of the 11th and longest stage counting 256km from Lucera.
There are also stages that pay homage to Italy’s two greatest Italian stars Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali.
The fifth stage will end at Novi Ligure, where Coppi found his first job as a helper in a delicatessen while the seventh stage from Carrara to Montalcino is dedicated to his great rival Bartali.
The Mortirolo pass makes its return to the Tour of Italy and has once again been nominated the ‘Pantani Mountain’ – every year one climb in the Giro is dedicated to the now deceased Marco ‘The Pirate’ Pantani, winner of the Giro in 1998 and much loved by the Italian public despite doping allegations throughout his career.
The race route of the 2010 giro d’italia:AFP/Getty Images
Stage 1 – Saturday, May 8, Amsterdam TT, 8.4km
Stage 2 – Sunday, May 9, Amsterdam – Utrecht, 209km
Stage 3 – Monday, May 10, Amsterdam – Middelburg, 209km